2023 is looking set to be a huge year for Xbox Game Pass, with Microsoft and Bethesda set to open the floodgates on some of their biggest Xbox Series X|S exclusive games yet, in addition to all of the third party games that they’re signing to fill out the popular subscription service.
We’ve trawled through the many announcements from the last year to find the 15 biggest games coming to Xbox Game Pass in 2023. Some of these games are team green exclusives through and through, some are cross-platform, others are new Xbox releases having originally launched on other platforms. In all cases, they’re coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one, and most of them are aiming for the first half of 2023, which is set to be an absolute feast of gaming. Let’s dive in!
Note: We’ve done our best to determine that all game platforms listed are correct, but some of these details are subject to confirmation as release dates are announced.
XSX|S, PC, Cloud | First half 2023
There’s no two ways about it: Starfield is sure to be the biggest Xbox Game Pass game of 2023. Bethesda’s space-ward RPG promises to blend all of the best elements of their storytelling and world-building to a far-flung sci-fi setting that’s far more optimistic for humanity’s future than Fallout!
Once you join Constellation, an organisation that counts themselves as the last group of space explorers, you’re given the goal of hunting down some of the many artefacts that have been scattered across the galaxy, revealing an underlying secret that looks set to change humanity forever. Through this, you’ll journey in your space ship, flying yourself to visit over 100 systems, visiting core cities as well as alien wildernesses, and engaging in the talking head dialogue so common to Bethesda’s games. What’s been most intriguing from the trailers is this game’s approach to combat, which looks like it will have some more refined first and third-person shooting combat than we’ve seen before.
Having announced an 11th November 2022 release date, Bethesda ended up delaying Starfield to the first half of 2023. There’s no firm release date yet, but we hope to hear one soon.
XSX|S, PC, Cloud | Spring 2023
Forza Motorsport has symbolically ditched the number to its title and looks set to mark a new era for the Xbox’s premier racing series. This game will be a current-gen exclusive for Xbox Series X|S and PC, allowing them to make a more advanced racing sim than ever before. That will apply to deeper simulation of car physics, tyre modelling, fuel management and see Forza Motorsport feature a full day-night racing cycle for the first time. Not only that, but there will be in-depth track evolution that’s affected by racing putting down rubber on the racing line, as well as changing based of track and air temperature, and more dynamic weather effects.
XSX|S, PC | Spring 2023
To the background of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, STALKER 2 developer GSC Game World has persisted while having to relocate to the Czech Republic and some members of the team joining the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defend their home country.
Development of STALKER 2 was able to resume in the middle of last year and it seems that GSC Game Worlds are now getting close on delivering this long-awaited sequel. It promises a deeply dynamic open world set within the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, the lands having been reclaimed following the world-changing nuclear reactor meltdown. The story of the game is non-linear so you can go wherever you wish to in the world, though you may not be fully prepared to meet all of its challenges straight away with both human and non-human enemies to face while exploring.
Monster Hunter Rise
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | 20th January 2023
The already wildly successful Monster Hunter Rise is breaking its Nintendo Switch exclusivity and coming to Xbox Game Pass in January. Aiming to build on the success and popularity of Monster Hunter World on home consoles, this game brings in new ideas such as the Wirebug to perform mid-air grapple moves, Wyvern Riding and new hunting buddies called Palamutes. It’s a fantastic game, and coming to Xbox Game Pass will be huge.
Following from the release of the main game, you’ll have a few months to take in all of the challenging monster battling that it offers before the massive expansion Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak arrives in Spring 2023.
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | 21st February 2023
Atomic Heart’s style is wild and distinctive, dropping you into a twisted Soviet-themed facility where machinery has rebelled against the humans. You, Major P-3, are tasked with shutting down the systems failure that led to this, battling machines, mutants and bloodthirsty creatures along the way. There’s some real Soviet BioShock vibes with this one, which will be music to the ears of fans of immersive sims.
XSX|S, PC, Cloud | First half 2023
The masters of immersive sims are doing something a little bit different with Redfall. This aims to blend Arkane’s style of immersive sim and storytelling with an open world filled with vampires, four contrasting characters and roles to choose between, and online co-op for four players! This could be a perfect game for Game Pass, allowing any fence sitters to hop in as part of their subscription.
Redfall was previously expected to release in 2022, but alongside Starfield, was pushed back to 2023. As fans of co-op shooters, we’re looking forward to seeing more of this one, especially as it has a rather different tone to the regular contenders for Left 4 Dead’s tone.
XSX|S, XBO | Q2 2023
One of the breakout successes of 2021 when it launched into Steam Early Access, Valheim immediately captures the hears and minds of fans of co-op, survival games, and Norse mythology with its step into the afterlife and the mystical creatures within. Since then Iron Game Studios have released a bunch of major updates, adding new realms and gameplay as they work toward a full release. They’re still focussed on the main Steam version of the game, while developers Piktiv and Fishlabs are helping to bring it to Xbox consoles.
Already available for PC Game Pass, Valheim will be coming to Game Pass for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One this spring.
Persona 3 Portable & Persona 4 Golden
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | 19th January 2023
Hot on the heels of Persona 5’s Game Pass addition last year, Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden are also getting ported to modern consoles. Both games see you take on the role of a high-school student who has to delve into the mystical goings on surrounding their school and city or town. There’s many sides to these games, from the narrative drive that sees you engaging in Persona battles, to the need to stick to the day-to-day of high school life and make friends. Persona 3 has plenty of fans, but it’s Persona 4 that was widely regarded as being one of the finest JRPGs ever made… up until it was somewhat superseded by Persona 5.
XSX|S, PC, Cloud | After 25th March 2023
Get ready for a totally spooky adventure from Tango Gameworks, as you step into the lifeless streets of a Tokyo district and hope to save Akito Izuki’s sister, Mari, from the clutches of the evil Hannya. it’s a good thing that Akito’s been possessed by the mysterious KK, granting him some pretty nifty powers with which to fight back against the spirits that now roam the fog-filled streets of Tokyo in place of its living citizens.
The one year PS5 exclusivity for Ghostwire: Tokyo will come to an end on 25th March 2023, and we expect the game to join Xbox Game Pass as soon as possible after that date, just as Deathloop did last September, with some small bonus content. See our Ghostwire: Tokyo review here.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | 3rd March 2023
Team Ninja fans might have been holding out hope for the announcement of Nioh 3, but Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is the next best thing, combining the Soulslike action RPG template of Nioh and Nioh 2 to the same historical setting that publisher Koei Tecmo so regularly explores with its Dynasty Warriors and Romance of the Three Kingdom series.
So we’re jumping from Japanese mythology to Chinese, with Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty taking similar creative liberties with the time period it visits. You’ll play as a nameless militia soldier this time, fighting to survive through a dark fantasy version of the Later Han Dynasty, employing swordplay based on Chinese martial arts and tapping into an innate power within them.
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | First Half 2023
A decade is a long time for a game to be in development, but Routine might just be worth the wait. From its creepy 80s sci-fi vibes to the hostile robots that you’ll be running and hiding from, or trying to battle with the Cosmonaut Assistance Tool (C.A.T.), this looks to be an outstanding horror game.
It certainly helps that it looks fantastic graphically, and has some really intense audio design – famed composer Mick Gordon is composing an original score for the game as well.
Planet of Lana
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | Q2 2023
Planet of Lana has been on our wishlist ever since we clapped eyes on its gorgeous art style. The game is a side-scrolling adventure with the titular Lana embarking on an adventure to try and rescue her sister from alien robots. Along the way, she’ll pair up with the adorable little creature called Mui and have to overcome platforming, puzzles and mortal peril.
We got to go hands on with the game at Gamescom 2022, playing the same section as is seen in the above video. I said in our preview, “Planet of Lana grabbed people’s attention when it was first announced thanks in no small part to its gorgeous art style, and it’s great to see that Wishfully is backing that up with solid gameplay, puzzles and thoroughly delivering on the cuteness of Mui.”
Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | Early 2023
The second game from Ashen developer A44 Games, Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is a new open world action RPG adventure for you to sink into.
Gods and guns will collide in this world and the Door to the Afterlife has been opened and you need to leap into the fray to defeat the armies of undead that now flood into this world. You’ll combine gunpowder firearms with a powerful axe and the mystical abilities of your foxlike companion Enki to battle through challenging combat and save the world!
XSX|S, XBO, PC, Cloud | Spring 2023
What’s next for Minecraft? Well, alongside the main game, which remains as popular as ever, and the dungeon-crawling Minecraft Dungeons, 2023 will also see the release of Minecraft Legends. It’s sure to be another family friendly game, especially because it will feature four player co-op.
With all the familiar blocky visuals of the Minecraft setting, Minecraft Legends will be an action strategy game, tasking you with saving the world from the invasive Nether corruption of the piglins. There’s a different perspective and scale to this take on the Minecraft setting, with a player character that’s able to roam around quickly, gathering resources, crafting and leading cute and cuddly allies into battle.